Beautifully Broken

Both siblings are separated after a great tragedy. Callum comes back from California to find his long, lost sister and to re-unite with her again. What he doesn't expect is finding his sister trapped under a living nightmare. This is written for Salvage competition.


1. Live, rise, and forever fallen



I burn in fire. No matter how many times I die, I always come back.


I am Phoenix.


I repeated those words dully in my head; the words slurred in my brain as time ticked past. I had no idea how long I was in here, only that the cold dominated every single inch of my skin, seeping through my cells and coated them with frost.


I hugged my arms tighter around my knees and curled into a ball, trying to preserve as much body heat as I could. My toes numbed over the icy shards, my body covered with snow flakes that smelt like stale fish. If my limbs were amputated, I probably wouldn’t even feel a thing.


Emotionless: Now that was a luxury; to not feel the pain, the hurt. I would give anything to have a heart of winter rather than this piece of flesh that bled every time it was cut. It was dark in this cramped space. I would’ve felt claustrophobic if I wasn’t too busy trying to keep myself warm. I tried to dream of summer; my skin bathing under the hot sun. But my summer was spent in the basement. I couldn’t remember what warmth felt like. Even now, stuck in my own icy prison, I couldn’t remember how fire felt like. I welcomed the cold which numbed every nerves inside me. I just wished it would hurry up and freeze my heart too. My heart beat painfully at every second that had past.


I wished it would stop.


Light flooded from above as my mother peered inside.


“Jesus Christ, Sarah!” She exclaimed in horror.


She bent down and pulled me up by my frozen arm, the meat packs slid past as I lurched forward. I stumbled out of the freezer, my body hurt as I moved. My limbs moved robotically, one step at a time as I tried to shake off the numb. My mother failed to catch me as I crashed onto the kitchen floor, my body shook uncontrollably. I was thawing, my teeth chattered that they bit my tongue. Copper liquid burst into my mouth and I swallowed, warming my throat.


My mother came back with an armful of towels in her arms. I didn’t even realise she was gone. I was too far gone in my head. She wrapped me in the bundle of towels and pulled me into her embrace. She rubbed her hands over my arms to keep me warm, but I was still trembling, my limbs twitched as my nerves thawed.


“I’m so sorry. I’m sorry, baby. Your father is a sick asshole,” she muttered in my hair as she hugged me tightly.


I wanted to snort. My father wasn’t the only sick member in this family. My name wasn’t Sarah. I was Phoenix.


Sarah was her long dead daughter. I was adopted to replace her so she could continue playing happy families.


It was a perfect doll house on the outside. We lived in a semi-detached house, a garden that was neatly taken care of, a nice neighbourhood. My father was a stockbroker and my mother was the perfect, doting housewife. My father drove a red Camaro, my bedroom was painted with purple and pink and adorned with lace curtains and all the decorations that every teenage girl dreamt of.


Our neighbours commented about how wonderful we were; I had perfect grades and hardly got in trouble. My mother’s garden was beautiful and full of kaleidoscopic blossoms. My father was a great husband and took the family to a getaway every weekend. We were the photos taken and pasted on magazines about model families, the perfect home. Perfect life. Perfect world.


But had anyone ever wondered what was going on inside the doll house? That perhaps the doll house was a masquerade, a disguise to fool people.


My doll house was a carnival of horror. Beneath my uniform and neatly combed hair, I was a broken doll with stitches to hold myself together. I was the Frankenstein's monster.


My mother ran a hot bath before pushing me inside. She took off my clothes and bathed me with the almost hot, scalding water. My blue skin soon turned into raw red colour. But it didn’t thaw me completely. There was a shard of ice lodged inside my heart and no fire in this world could melt that frozen icicle.


Afterwards, she tucked me in my bed and sang slow lullabies. That was my favourite part of being her daughter. When she wasn’t drinking or in screaming hysterics, she would sing to me at night. I felt almost loved. That was the beauty about lies. We lied to the world about ourselves. We lied to others that we were okay. That everything was alright. But we also ended up lying to ourselves. We could be the greatest con artist, but eventually we made ourselves the victim to our lies.


After my mother had long gone to open up another bottle of gin, I lay awake at night staring at the dark ceiling. My body floated on the dark heavy clouds in the never-ending abyss. I finally achieved what I wanted: I could no longer feel.

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